With Jeary Wheeler of Batesville, Ark., breaking the EverStart Series big-bass record on Sam Rayburn last year (12 pounds, 11 ounces) and water temperatures increasing rapidly each day leading up to the tournament, Sam Rayburn looked prime to produce some outstanding catches. A torrential downpour began shortly after take-off Wednesday morning, but the adverse weather conditions did not hurt the bite. Anglers experienced one of the best days in EverStart Series history.
“I was sweating it out getting ready for this tournament because I only had a day and a half of practice after coming from the Texas Tournament Trail event on Lake Amistad,” said Curtis, who finished fifth at that event. Reluctant to divulge his pattern this early in the tournament, Curtis said he just put the trolling motor down and went fishing in a general area where he got a few bites in practice. While he caught fish all day, Curtis did admit that three of his quality keepers came during a heavy downpour.
Rounding out the top-five pros are William M. Davis of Russellville, Ala. (five bass, 23 pounds, 14 ounces); Ed Dunnaway of Flowood, Miss. (five bass, 21 pounds, 13 ounces); Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tenn. (five bass, 20 pounds, 14 ounces); and John Sappington of Willard, Mo. (five bass, 19 pounds, 15 ounces).
Gilbert Herald of Pittsburgh caught 5 bass weighing 21 pounds, 3 ounces to lead the Co-angler Division.
Herald caught bass early on a Carolina rig and then finished out his limit later in the afternoon fishing a wacky worm around flooded brush. “I caught one of my biggest bass 15 minutes after we started,” Herald said. “Then I caught my biggest bass on the first cast at the next spot we fished.”
Rounding out the top-five co-anglers are Joseph Picha of New Prague, Minn. (five bass, 16 pounds); Bobby Lebert of Brooklyn (five bass, 15 pounds, 9 ounces); Jon V. Lessard of Tullahoma, Tenn. (five bass, 14 pounds, 15 ounces); and Randy Coffman of Corydon, Ind. (five bass, 14 pounds, 9 ounces).
Davis caught a 9-pound largemouth to win the $750 Snickers Big Bass Award in the Pro Division while Herald caught a 6-pound, 14-ounce bass to win $250 for big bass in the Co-angler Division.
Anglers caught 1,353 bass weighing an impressive 3,388 pounds, 1 ounce.
Although Wednesday’s total weight of 3,388 pounds, 1 ounce is not an EverStart Series record, it’s one of the best one-day weights in the circuit’s history. “Today was one of the best weigh-ins I have ever seen,” said Chris Jones, EverStart Series tournament director. “We easily weighed 50-60 bass that were more than 6 pounds. The anglers just kept talking about how many bass they caught today. It was unbelievable.”
EverStart Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of two rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday and Thursday, and the top 10 pros and co-anglers – based on two-day accumulated weights – advance to the final round. Anglers start at zero Friday, and pro and co-angler winners are determined Saturday based on two-day accumulated weights.
For more information on the EverStart Series or any of FLW Outdoors’ eight tournament trails, visit FLWOutdoors.com.